Final tiger census figures submitted to Centre

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (UNI) The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) today submitted its final tiger census report to the Centre.

''Our findings have been handed out to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and it was now up to them to release it,'' a senior WII official told UNI.

The provisional census figures released in May last year had raised grave alarm about the state of tigers when it indicated that the number of the threatened animal was much less than what was believed.

The last tiger census had put the number at more than 3,500. The provisional WII report had said that the number of tigers in the country was not likely to be more than 2,000-2,500.

The States covered under the preliminary findings were Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa.

The WII experts had, however, said that it might not be wholly correct to say that the number of tigers had gone down as the counting in the previous census was not fool proof.

They had said the total count of tiger and herbivores and the current estimation exercise done by WII under the direction of the erstwhile Project Tiger Directorate (now National Tiger Conservation Authority) were based on two different methodologies and were therefore not comparable in terms of figures given earlier by the States.

However, the news about depleted number of tigers had underscored the urgency of tiger conservation measures and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had given fresh directions that all the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force should be implemented at the earliest.

UNI NAZ MSJ HT1537

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